Step outside in Melbourne right now if you dare, it’s bone chillingly cold, the sky is a depressive concrete grey, and rain is pelting down. Meanwhile, on the Gold Coast, it might not be beach going weather, but temperatures are climbing closer to 20 degrees than 0, and there ain’t no chance of a flooding.

Welcome to winter weather, it’s come early, and has surely got the southern states thinking about escaping to the sunny top end before we ice over. At least that’s what Tourism Queensland hopes.

Tourism Queensland and Gold Coast Tourism have launched a new advertising drive aimed at the southern states with a $500,000 media buy.

“This new campaign squarely aims to drive visitation to the Gold Coast during the cooler months of the year and will be promoted through television, print, radio and online, as well as through Flight Centre stores nationally and the company's online channels,” Tourism Queensland chief executive officer Anthony Hayes says.

“Previous similar Gold Coast campaigns have been quite successful in southern markets with the region showing it's a popular holiday destination of choice for our southern neighbours, particularly Melbournians,” he says.

The Australian Football League’s newest team the Gold Coast Suns may provide even more incentive for southern state residents to escape, with the AFL making a clever move in to travel packages.

The AFL reckons that the Gold Coast Suns presence will boost spending on the Gold Coast by $34 million and attract 121,000 extra visitors to the region.

An independent economic report conducted by Queensland economist Dr Christopher Hunn predicted Gold Coast businesses will be the main beneficiaries, with more than 90% of the spending benefitting organisations not directly aligned to the new AFL team.

Accommodation and tourism providers, food and beverage businesses, fuel retail and hire cars, sport and recreation businesses, taxis and local transport and retail businesses are predicted to be the biggest winners.

“Through media attention, the Suns will subtly promote local tourism locations and local productive capabilities,” Hunn says. “Anecdotal evidence suggests that the extent of place marketing generated by the Suns is expected to be significant, and will exceed that of the other football codes."

The AFL has set up a website for footy fans looking to follow their team to the Gold Coast, with a lot of package deals. 

“This program has been developed with the support of AFL clubs, Virgin Blue, IHG and Gold Coast Tourism,” AFL general manager strategy and marketing Andrew Catterall explains to Marketing mag. “It’s a great opportunity to attract away team supporters watch their side play on the Gold Coast but also enjoy a holiday at the same time and deliver economic and tourism benefits to the region.”